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How to Fix your Office Lighting to Improve your Vision

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Do your eyes itch or burn after a long day at work? Prolonged computer usage could be a major reason for your eye problems. However, poor lighting could also be the culprit. It is common for most workplaces to use inexpensive fluorescent lighting to power large areas. This is because it continues to be the most inexpensive lighting option.

Sadly, their employees pay the price. This is because exposure to harsh fluorescent lighting for extended periods can lead to blurred vision and eye strain.

Common symptoms of eye strain include dry or watery eyes, swollen eyes, an increased sensitivity to light, and double vision which are all frequent complaints. Poor lighting at your workplace may make it harder for you to concentrate on your work or keep your eyes open.

Flickering fluorescent lights can cause discomfort in the eyes and trigger headaches. Poor lighting is particularly harmful for employees who experience frequent bouts of migraines.

But it’s not just overhead fluorescent lights that cause trouble. CFLs (also known as compact fluorescent lights) may trigger the same symptoms. Since these lights are energy efficient substitutes for incandescent bulbs, they are widely used in all kinds of work settings.

According to the American Journal of Public Health, exposure to both CFLs and standard fluorescent lights cause significant eye damage since they produce an artificial source of UV light. Regular exposure to UV light contributes to eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

It is also interesting to note that people who have light-colored or blue eyes are more at risk of being affected by poor lighting. This is because darker eye shades have more pigment in the layers that protect the eyes from the detrimental effects of UV and fluorescent light, meaning people with light-colored eyes are more at risk to the effects of lighting conditions.

Dim lighting also triggers eye strain and fatigue. Make sure you work in a well-lit work environment. Workplaces should have light lamps instead of overhead fluorescent lights.


Proper lighting helps you avoid a wide array of eye problems. Harsh lighting leads to headaches and chronic eye fatigue. Turning off the lights is rarely an option at your office, especially if you work in a cubicle. But you can take the following measures to improve your workplace lighting.

  • Use wraparound sunglasses or wear a visor if you sit under fluorescent lights
  • Keep your eyes moist by using lubricating eye drops and blink frequently
  • Position your seat away from windows to reduce glare from the sun
  • Take frequent breaks throughout the day to relieve your eyes
  • Install a monitor hood or use an anti-glare shield on your computer
  • Use anti-glare glasses
  • Lower shades and blinds during the sunniest parts of the day

Bottom Line

Workplaces can protect their employees’ eye health by fixing poor lighting and adding protective gear to their computers. Dry eyes, blurred vision and eye strain are all outcomes of poor or harsh lighting at your office. Remember to get your eyes checked regularly. If you are experiencing any vision problems, schedule an eye exam today.

Written by Total Focus

At Total Focus Optometry, we’ve spent the last 70 years building meaningful relationships with our patients and their families. From routine eye exams to contact lens fittings we offer our patients a variety of services to meet their eye care needs.

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